April 10, 2021



Watchmen of the Streets says they need at least $20,000 in the next couple weeks to continue operations. CORNELIUS, N.C. — A North Carolina non-profit is asking for the community's help in order to stay in operation. Watchmen of the Streets is a Christian non-profit founded in 2009 consisting of over 50 volunteers. The organization serves the homeless and youth both in the Carolinas and abroad. The organization made this post on Facebook: "THIS IS ONE OF THE HARDEST POSTS I HAVE EVER SHARED ON FACEBOOK." *** It's up to God and the responsiveness of HIS people right now on whether "Watchmen of The Streets" will continue to exist or have to end our amazing ministry. . After 11 years strong, the organization said without $20,000 to $25,000 in the next two or three weeks, they will not be able to function financially any longer. So far, about $8,000 has been raised since the Facebook post, according to Huntersville's Commissioner Stacy Phillips, who has volunteered with Watchmen of the Streets for years. "Now we are seeing what happens with the blowback of COVID-19 where people, you know, would donate $5 here or $100 there over the years weren't able to do that," Phillips said. "Now there is at least a $25,000 deficit in their fiscal year budget which is critical money." Phillips said Choplin's Steak & Food in Cornelius donated $1,000 in an effort to call on other businesses to step up and help save the nonprofit.  On the restaurant's Facebook page, a post read, "I challenge other businesses to donate whatever they can, this mission must push forward."  At a time when Mecklenburg County is seeing the number of homeless neighbors rise, Phillips said the nonprofit is crucial to help fix the problem.  "Watchmen of the Streets is the Batman of nonprofits. They’re in the shadows on the fray of the night taking care of people," she said. "If you think Mecklenburg County has a serious homelessness problem now, you won’t be able to fathom our community without them and frankly it’s a world none of us, especially our homeless neighbors, should ever live in.”  In February, Mecklenburg County officials forced more than a hundred homeless neighbors from an encampment just north of Uptown to county-funded hotels.  On Wednesday, county officials said 178 people are still living in the hotels after 20 people were either kicked out for breaking rules set by the county or left on their own.  So far, only 3 people have been transitioned to permanent housing.  County officials said the hotel will be offered for free until June 30. Questions still remain as to where everyone will go after that or if there is a solution to keep everyone from moving back onto the streets.  Nonprofits, like Watchmen of the Streets, have filled the large gaps in helping Charlotte's homeless neighbors.  If you want to help, you can donate online at watchmenofthestreets.com. Checks can also be sent to: Watchmen of the Streets - Habit MissionsP.O. Box 1580Cornelius, NC 28031 The organization said all gifts and donations are tax-deductible. Tonight I was sent this sad news. A non-profit that so many of our homeless neighbors get services and help from, is about to be no more. We've seen the need for non-profits like them as more than 100 people were moved from tent city. If you can help them - info is below @wcnc pic.twitter.com/q5ccd9qcIl— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunt_Saenz) April 2, 2021 [...]
COVID-19 cases and positive test rates have stalled in their improvements, and now, patient counts have started to increase once more. CHARLOTTE, N.C. — There are new rises in North Carolina's coronavirus-related hospitalizations right now, and the patients getting care look different than earlier in the pandemic. "ED visits for COVID-like illness have dropped dramatically for those 65 and older, but it's actually increasing for those 25 to 44," Dr. Katie Passaretti, an infectious disease specialist with Atrium Health, said. North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services data shows those in their 20s, 30s, and 40s have roughly doubled their share of total hospitalizations since the January surge. Passaretti noted, within the Atrium Health system, the coronavirus patient census has been increasing over the past week, mirroring the trends seen in the statewide data on the NCDHHS dashboard. RELATED: 'There are plenty of spots' | Mecklenburg County Health officials urge people to get COVID-19 vaccine The trend starts as the state settles into its latest round of eased restrictions, which kicked in two weeks ago and approaches nearly 30% of adults being fully vaccinated. Prior to the recent rise, hospitalizations had been decreasing for 12 straight weeks. Meantime, COVID-19 cases have stalled in their progress downward for about a month, and the positive test rate has taken a slight rise from its most recent low of just under 5% to roughly 5.4%. NC COVID update:-2500+ cases today; largest case count since late Feb.-Percent positive has been on a slight rise; 5.4% of last 2wks.-Hospitalizations are back under 1K, but generally trending up again@wcnc pic.twitter.com/4hbWao6ODk— Vanessa Ruffes (@VanessaRuffes) April 9, 2021 The skew in cases and hospitalizations towards younger age groups is likely prompted by multiple factors, but Passaretti said, playing a role, are the prioritized vaccinations for older groups, along with the growing presence of the more contagious and deadlier B.1.1.7 variant in the Carolinas. According to Dr. Rochelle Walensky, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, B.1.1.7, also called the U.K. variant, is now the most prevalent form of the virus in the U.S. With genomic sequencing of the virus expanding, the CDC has begun estimating variant presence in some states, and the latest update, current through March 13, show at least 8% of North Carolina's cases are from the U.K. variant. However, based on the variant's trajectory, it is possible that the share is now higher. RELATED: ‘More accessibility and opportunity’ | Underserved populations getting vaccinated at community clinics Including the U.K. variant, the CDC has listed five "variants of concern," known as such due to evidence of increased transmissibility, severity in disease or ability to evade detection or treatment. All five variants of concern have been detected in the Carolinas. Doctors and health officials say the state is in a precarious position, ramping up vaccinations and easing restrictions. They hope people are quick to get vaccinated and slow to ease vigilance. "We're starting to see a hint that we might be starting to see an uptick in our community," Passaretti said. "We've heard about it certainly in other areas of the country, other parts of the world. We may be heading down a similar path." Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan. [...]
Doctors say it's happening more and more often as those with long COVID get a new sense of hope after living with symptoms for months. CHARLOTTE, N.C. — As millions race to get vaccinated, some say the vaccines aren't only preventing COVID-19, they're also making them feel better. Several patients who have suffered through 'Long COVID,' a long hauler dealing with symptoms weeks or even months after contracting the virus, are finally feeling like themselves again after receiving COVID-19 vaccines.  Daniel Zaccardelli said he experienced it all himself.  Before the pandemic, he was a healthy cyclist and mountain biker who was always out on a ride.  "I'm pretty in-tune with things going on with my body and was in pretty good shape for the season," he said.  That was until the Zaccardelli, 38, came down with COVID-19 around Christmas.  RELATED: COVID-19 hospitalizations start slight rise in NC again, with younger age groups growing share of patient count "It was a pretty mild case," he said as he remembered having a headache, a fever, and a slight cough.  He thought his battle was over in about seven days but noticed his sense of smell was still gone and rides that were once easy, weren't anymore. "As soon as I tried to kind of kick it into the extra gear and push myself, that's when I started noticing something was off," Zaccardelli explained.  Click here to sign up for the daily Wake Up Charlotte newsletter The data he tracked on an app during rides showed he wasn't performing as usual either.  "Trails I've ridden maybe a hundred times -- I just struggled to get up the hills," he added.  As the weeks and months went on, frustration sank in.  "You know, am I ever going to be able to ride like I used to," he pondered? "Am I going to have to find another sport?" However, after receiving his COVID-19 vaccine, Zaccardelli headed down a more promising path.  RELATED: ‘More accessibility and opportunity’ | Underserved populations getting vaccinated at community clinics "One week after my first dose of the vaccine, I broke one of my personal records that I had since 2016," he said. "To me, that was the sign that I was all the way back." Dr. Arin Piramzadian with StarMed Healthcare said it's something more and more long haulers are reporting.  "We've seen this in about a third of the people who are getting the vaccines who are considered long haulers," he explained.  Tonight at 11 on @wcnc — Daniel was a healthy cyclist and mountain bike rider. Then he got COVID, with symptoms lasting long after his diagnosis. A COVID long hauler. But then, something got rid of the lasting symptoms. Find out what, and why doctors are looking into it. pic.twitter.com/qKzkwVWqxo— Hunter Sáenz (@Hunt_Saenz) April 10, 2021 Doctors aren't exactly sure why the vaccines are helping some with long COVID, but research is underway.  "If it's fighting the virus, or if it's just making the body reset itself," Piramzadian said. "We don't know why, but if it works, it works." Another strange development in the fight against a virus that's had so many baffling symptoms and after-effects.   "I would highly recommend getting it," Zaccardelli said. "It helped me out tremendously." Have a relative or friend in another state and want to know when they can get vaccinated? Visit NBC News' Plan Your Vaccine site to find out about each state's vaccine rollout plan. [...]